Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Living on a Food Stamp budget Day 5

I had a rotten night's sleep. Again with the fireworks all night long. I love living by the beach, but it is a natural location for every amateur arsonist to practice exploding things; and they did, all night long.

After a restless night I was up at 6. Yesterday I had made a cabbage soup with a tiny bit of the beef, part of a cabbage and tomatoes. I had two cups of soup at 6:30 in the morning. When I feel cruddy for any reason I want soup.

Then I went back to bed and got a couple of hours of much needed sleep.

When I woke I made coffee and had an apple with peanut butter. Jessica at SF Food bank had told me that adequate protein was often difficult on food stamps so one of my purchases was a jar of natural peanut butter. The apple was free from a neighbor who grows them.

Cabbage Soup .48 (for two cups)
Coffee .25
Peanut butter .21 (for two tablespoons)

Total .94

Due to the apple and cabbage my nutrition is getting better coverage and I am at 510 calories.

And then lunch. I was hungry at lunch time and still had some of the quasi puttanesca sauce that made an appearance on pizza yesterday.

Pasta .16
Sauce .65

Lunch total .81

I did a hard work out but still was not feeling 100%, but I had planned for this and made a pot of chicken soup. Not much to it, chicken bones, water, a few garden vegetables,  salt and noodles. The pot cost 3.00.

After my workout I ate half the pot. It was just what I needed. I ate half the pot.

Snack 1.50

...and then dinner. I had leftover beef stew.

One portion 1.08
Egg Noodles  .10

Later in the evening a friend of mine whom I met back in Australia called and wanted to come over(he is divorcing and it ain't pretty). I said sure but don't bring booze. I was feeling too out of it imbibe.

Instead he brought soda, sweetened with sugar and not corn syrup so at the moment I am on a sugar a caffeine high. It will quickly fade and I am hoping for a deep restful night's sleep.

Today I went .04 over so there is no more balance to carry into the morrow.

I feel like I had plenty to eat and did way better with my balance of nutrition.1,578 calories which is not making me feel deprived in any way.


Anonymous said...

As a single mother with two hungry boys I don't always plan meals the way I should. I work 5/12 days as an assistant at a Dental office and am paid so little I still qualify for food assistance.

I appreciate what you are doing because it is helping me learn about nutrition in addition to getting enough food in their bellies.

How bad are the cheap frozen dinners? I can get banquet 10 for a dollar on sale and pot pies for the same price. Is this really bad for me and kids. We have them at least once a week cause for a dollar each everyone gets fed.

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

I don't have an answer for you, but I will find it.

I have not eaten frozen food in years but I have seen the types of things you describe on sale 10 for a dollar at Safeway. I will get a couple and read the ingredients carefully and put them into my diet and see how they rate.

It really is a balancing act to keep the calories up, the nutrition at a reasonable place, and stay on budget.

scientious said...

I don't often buy tv dinners or frozen pot pies. The reason why is salt. These generally have 750 - 1,000 mg's of salt which is an awful lot for a single meal. These are usually pretty high in fat as well. However, for one meal a week I wouldn't worry.

I might mention though that you might see if you can duplicate most of a tv dinner for less money. The potatoes are the same dried potato flakes that you can make in five minutes and you can buy packages of frozen mixed vegetables or frozen corn which only need to be heated. Add a bit of coffee creamer powder to the potatoes to make them creamier. Sure you could use milk but basic creamer is normally cheaper and it keeps on the shelf for a long time.

scientious said...

Your chicken noodle soup reminds me of mine. I generally make mine like this:

Either two 32 ounce cartons OR four 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth.

Two frozen chicken breasts. This would be 8 - 10 ounces of meat but you can add more if you like. You could also use ground turkey.

One medium and one small carrot (or one big, fat carrot). Don't get crazy with the carrots because they have a lot of sugar and too many will give the soup an odd flavor.

A couple stalks of celery. Celery has a mild flavor so more won't hurt anything.

Half a package of noodles, 8 ounces. I like wide noodles in mine.

I normally have some chicken base handy because I usually add a little water to fill up the pot and then add some chicken base so that the broth doesn't get watered down. You could of course just add more broth but the soup base is cheaper.

Broil or pan fry the chicken breast. If they are frozen when I start I normally add a little water, put on a lid, and give them some extra time to thaw before I brown them. Then you cut the chicken into small pieces and put it in a pot with the chicken broth. Heat it to boiling.

Dice the celery and add it to the boiling broth. Set a timer for 7 minutes.

Dice the carrot. When the 7 minutes are up, add the carrots and the 8 ounces of noodles. Set the timer for another 7 minutes.

When the second 7 minutes are up, turn off the heat. Let the noodles rest for a bit as the broth cools down and they will absorb more liquid and plump up more. Keeping the time at 14 minutes total keeps the celery and carrots from overcooking. It's not tragic if the celery is slightly soft but I can't stand mushy carrots (that's why the carrots only get 7 minutes).

In my opinion, compared to this soup, Campbells Chicken and Noodle doesn't even qualify as soup (it's more like imitation soup). It also doesn't have that odd taste that Campbell's Chunky Chicken and Noodle has.

Since I make a big pot, I normally put some in smaller containers and freeze them. Just put the frozen soup in the refrigerator the day before you need it. This soup and a sandwich makes a very nice lunch. I might mention that my mother really liked this soup.

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

I don't know that I would want to re-create a tv dinner. Not a good thing to emulate.

That shelf stable creamer is filled with horrible hydrogenated fat. Should never be consumed the price you pay will be your health.